** Note: we are leaving La Paz today, April 21rst, for up to two weeks exploring. We do not expect to have internet access during this time. If we do it will be a treat! We will return to La Paz no later than May 8th.**
Our first experiences with the Sea of Cortez have been exciting and we yearn for more. We arrived late last year and had decided to head directly to the mainland right after Christmas. It was a great decision and we thoroughly enjoyed the mainland coast, but we came down to Mexico to explore the Sea of Cortez, and we can't wait to get started! We had some insurance issues to resolve so we ended up needing to stay in La Paz a bit longer than we had intended, which has delayed our ventures into the "Sea". It is the weekend and we need to be in La Paz on Monday for word back from businesses in the great USA. We decided to venture not too far for the weekend to explore something new, and to get a break from the hustle and bustle of La Paz.
We first went to San Gabriel on Espiritu Santu island, which is a marine park/sanctuary (national protected area). Arriving in the afternoon, we never went to shore. We had great plans to get out right after breakfast the next morning. Plans change and our night was what you could say; horrible, horrible, horrible. The winds kicked up at 1:30am and made for a sleepless night. We were far from the other 4 boats in the bay and not concerned about hitting land, going aground or such, but the fetch allowed the waves to grow to the size that we hobby-horsed all night and our swim step pounded on the water. There is no way to sleep through that noise and feeling which shutters and shakes the whole boat no matter where you are. At 3:30am one vessel in the bay called another on the VHF radio. Steve and I were both awake and heard the conversation between the boats. One boat was debating pulling their anchor as they had endured enough of this torture. They had also been up since 1:30 and had to go out on deck to lash down some items that were shifting around in the uneasy motion. The other boat had decided to wait it out until sunrise and then they were leaving and going back to La Paz. They too had been awake for hours. Morning came with conditions seeming to steadily get worse. We soon brought the anchor up and headed back for La Paz by 9am or so. We were about 15 minutes behind one of those two boats that chatted on the radio, and the other was just a few miles behind us, leaving only two boats in the bay. We don't know if they stayed or not. We were there only one afternoon and night, took no pictures, and missed a beautiful sand beach and some hiking. It was sort of a letdown for us and depressing. These southwest winds are mentioned in our guidebooks. The coromuel winds occur most commonly in spring and summer, and the books mention which bays are open to those winds but we hoped they would not occur every night. We have been in this area for several weeks now and there have only been a few calm evenings (our previous night in La Paz being one of them. We are 100% for encountering strong winds overnight in the 20 or so miles we have explored outside of La Paz. This is not too encouraging, but we have read that these winds only reach about 40 miles north of La Paz. We sure hope so as we are in need of a decent night's sleep! Unfortunately, the morning weather forecaster on the VHF net does not attempt to predict these winds, and we don't yet know how to predict them ourselves. So for now we are just taking our chances and will not be anchoring overnight in bays that are open to the wind driven waves, at least within 40 miles of La Paz where these winds are felt.
Instead of going back to La Paz, which we needed to do on Monday anyway, we decided to stop at another anchorage on our way. As we got closer the wind and waves were calming down. We knew from the direction of the coromuel winds that this bay should be pretty calm, even if the winds blow again tonight. Caleta Lobos is spectacular. One complaint here though (and our books mention it) is the bugs. They are not really biting bugs but they do drive you buggy by landing on you every where you can imagine. Masses of tiny little no-see-ums and a few bees. We anchored in 25 feet of water and it was so clear you could clearly see the anchor with a scuba mask. In fact, when the winds died off and the water surface became glassy you could see the anchor from the bow of our boat. We went for a hike soon after anchoring and had a nice walk and scramble up a hill. This was followed by Kathy taking a kayak ride and then the family swimming in the water (about 74 degrees). This was what we came here for! A neighbor boat said the anchorage is good for those great nighttime winds. The winds did blow again overnight, at just over 20 knots, but it was smooth water and allowed for some sleep. Still, with two boats nearby, as well as each side of the bay, there is worry and some issues sleeping.
|Caleta Lobos anchorage in the bay (from Kathy's kayak tour)|
|Hiking up the ridge|
|scrambling up the slope|
|beautiful clear water, mv Adagio anchored out there!|
|a lone fish swimming out there. See if you can find it: black and orange|
|fisherman netting some fish. Awesome to watch them at work right near us|
|Here they are bringing in the fish, getting them out of the nets into a bin|
|Another drop for these fellows. This time looking out of the bay and toward the north|
The winds have disappeared leaving us with glassy smooth water.
|mv Adagio, cactus and beautiful water|
|At the point and looking at shells picked apart from all the sea birds|
|The cactus are very interesting. There are many|
different varieties to be found here.
|More cactus and the spectacular blue waters of the bay.|
|A shell find!|
|a photo of Adagio in the anchorage from Kathy kayaking along the shoreline|
|Reef fish seen from the kayak in the beautiful clear water|